Censorship: The Art of Having Your (Inalienable) Rights Stripped, then Dressed Back Up in Politically Correct, Eco-Friendly, Morally Valued Threads

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“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights…

Those rights, for people who slept through seventh grade Social Studies (or didn’t have Mrs. Lamberta, the most amazing Social Studies teacher ever), were/are the ones that our founding fathers perceived to be natural, meaning not bestowed by others or conditional in any way.  Our inalienable rights: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

And sure, since “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” seems a bit broad and far too open to interpretation, we then were given the Bill of Rights to define acceptable and undeniable uses of the aforementioned liberties.

 I promise, the history lesson will be over soon and is going somewhere worthwhile.

 So the Bill of Rights, our first ten constitutional amendments, was created to protect our, well, alienable rights.  It’s not “natural” that we’re allowed to possess guns or that our spouses don’t have to testify against us in a court of law, but the Bill of Rights (or its creators) felt that there were certain facets of life that we should all revel in, despite not being intrinsic.

 Of those amendments, my favorite is the First Amendment.  Here’s a refresher of its three main components:

 Freedom of Religion

Government cannot prefer one religion to another, or prefer religion over irreligion (bet you didn’t know that)

 Freedom of Speech

You are constitutionally allowed to say almost anything you want, barring:

·      Speech that presents a clear and present danger (yelling “fire” in a crowded theater, for example)

·      Sedition, aka, speech that explicitly incites a governmental coup

·      Obscenity!  If your yammering offends contemporary community standards or is outrageously prurient, you’re on your own…

·      Libel, or making falsifiable claims

·      Slander, too, but that’s the same thing as libel, only it’s committed with willful malice

·      Convicts are not allowed to capitalize from the sale of the story of their crimes

 Freedom of the Press

The people have a right to know, except when what’s going on includes profane language

Now that you’re caught up on only some of rights the Constitution guarantees you, I feel compelled to bring to light some current events that, if your 7th grade Social Studies teacher was as awesome as Mrs. Lamberta, will ruffle your feathers.

Take Karl Rove, for example.  Bush’s cantankerous (and that’s a completely apolitical statement, mind you.  I have yet to find a Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, or Rove that actually likes Karl Rove) man-behind-the-curtain was recently found in contempt of CONGRESS.


Apparently, Rove felt that he had such unlimited power that not even a subpoena by the government could get him to testify about what some may believe are treacherous, illegal war crimes (tip of the iceberg, mind you).  Now, I’m sure you’re wondering why he’s an example of how our Constitution is being made a mockery of, and here’s the gist: Who the hell is he to decide that he’s exempt from obeying the same instated-since-the-birth-of-our-country legislation that everyone else has to?  And without punishment, no less…

I’m not a “stickler” for rules (though I do believe that they have a purpose), but if any other American (scratch that, average American) tried pulling his shenanigans, they’d be being waterboarded as we speak.

Not that any of this matters, though.  Unfortunately, the Constitution that will punish Rove (in theory) is the same one that will allow President Bush to pardon him (in practice).

Example two: Strip clubs.

Less offensive than Karl Rove (in the opinions of some) is an interesting matter coming out of Iowa.

Is stripping an art?

A case in 1998 ruled that nude dancing is not guilty of the crime of indecent exposure.  And that ruling is being cited in a current case against a “nude dancing club” owner who unknowingly allowed a local sheriff’s underage niece to perform.

Freedom of expression?  Perhaps.

Indecent exposure?  Maybe.

Whether stripping is art shouldn’t even be the question at hand, though.  Across the nation there are various types of clubs that only allow certain types of people to gain entry with certain types of proof.

Bars – You have to be 21, with ID

Men’s Clubs – You have to be a man, with …

Banks – You have to be 18, with ID, to establish an account

Voting – You have to be 18 AND registered

Nude dancing is just another service, like those listed above.  The people who choose to enter a bar are choosing to be in an atmosphere where they’re surrounded by liquor and music (and often overly cologned patrons).  People who enter banks are choosing to do some sort of transaction with money.  Etcetera.

My point is, if someone chooses to go into a private establishment and pay for a service
that is LEGAL (show me a law that bans nude dancing in a privately owned space), who cares?  People have a right to pursue happiness, and if that happens to come in the form of some naked entertainment and watered down beverages, shouldn’t that be their prerogative?

And you know what I find indecent?  Reality TV.  And that crap invades my home.   Why doesn’t someone start a crusade against the indecent exposure of children to people eating cow testicles or being on “The Hills.”

Example Three is a tough one for me to put on paper, as I find the debate surrounding the matter to be more offensive than the matter at hand.

What am I talking about?

I’m talking about a recently posted-then-removed Nike advertisement that featured the slogan “That Ain’t Right” across a picture of a (black) man dunking over another (black) man.  And it just so happened that while in motion, the dunkee gets the dunker’s crotch right in his face.

Personally, I found it funny on a number of levels.  Apparently, though, there are lots of people looking to turn this into either a racial matter or a sexual one.  More often than not, people combined the hot button topics to created a two-pronged politically correct attack that eventually forced Nike to pull the ads they place.

Let’s break it down:

The ad was homophobic because it said “That Ain’t Right” paired with a sexual image of two men.  I’m sorry, but regardless of the genders involved, forced sodomy ain’t right.

The ad was racist because of its placement in “urban” neighborhoods where people play basketball and happen to be black.  The moment it’s considered racist to target your key demographic by advertising your wares in areas they reside, that’ll be my cue to pack up and head abroad.

The ad was racist AND homophobic because the two men in a compromising position that wasn’t right were both black.

It makes me want to shed a tear thinking about how ridiculous the complaints were, but even worse than that is that Nike caved.  What happened to the “Just Do It” mentality?  Was that shelved, too, when anti-domestic violence groups proclaimed it perpetuated notions that actions should be seen through, even if by force, ordering people to “Just Do It?”

I know, I know… Who am I rant and rave about how we’re systematically stripping ourselves of our rights, and when we’re not doing that, we’re allowing others to do it for us?

Well, I’m no one special.  Just someone freely expressing their thoughts on the Monty Python-esque absurdity I see around me every day.

And I’m well within my rights to do that.

Jackie for AMP3pr.com

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